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The Watchtower 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 220'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Lance Milo Cagle
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 966
Submitted By: Milo on Jun 8, 2014

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Doug doing his best Iron Cross to unlock The Watch...

Description 

This is single pitch lead, with 2 rappels. Climb an easy alcove up to a huge ledge.(rap anchor). from here,traverse out right to a dihedral on an arete.(1 bolt) About halfway up the pitch, step left out on to the face,(another bolt) and continue up the arete. Climb past 3 more bolts up a fun and exposed face to the anchor. While rappelling, A 70m rope JUST BARELY makes it to the top of the first big ledge.(bolt anchor) Then a 30 ft. rap to the ground from there. (or 1 double rope rap will take you all the way to the ground.)

Location 

Follow hiking directions for PSOM slabs. Fork left just before reaching the toe of the PSOM buttress. Watchtower is on the next buttress directly left of PSOM buttress, and directly across from the Gold Wall. It starts at the lowest point on the buttress, and takes only a minute to reach from the fork in the trail.

Protection 

6 draws and a single rack to #2 Camalot should do ya. Save a #1 camalot for about half way up the pitch. A 70m rope JUST BARELY makes it to the top of the first big ledge.(bolt anchor) Then a 30 ft. rap to the ground from there. (or 1 double rope rap will take you all the way to the ground.).


Photos of The Watchtower Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A shot of Watchtower 5.9, Sweetie 5.9, and Freesca...
BETA PHOTO: A shot of Watchtower 5.9, Sweetie 5.9, and Freesca...
Rock Climbing Photo: Watchtower and Sweetie, from the fork in the trail
BETA PHOTO: Watchtower and Sweetie, from the fork in the trail

Comments on The Watchtower Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 15, 2015
By Steve Gomez
Oct 21, 2014

Another good addition to the area! To me it felt like the fourth from last bolt should have been just a little lower ( to allow for clipping before making the crux moves) but I'm a wuss:)
By old5ten
From: Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
May 27, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

fun route, varied climbing, a bit crispy (like most stuff around PSOM and much of pine creek), but well worthwhile!

just climbed it and wasn't paying that much attention, but i think the bolt count is off in the description and topo. if my short term memory isn't completely shot (it may very well be), there are 2 bolts in the corner then one out on the face, then 4 more higher up. edit 6/9/15: half right, one bolt in the corner, one on the face above, but four (not 3) on the upper section.

what's up with the biners at the anchor for the top? let's put some rings on there - i'll donate them if need be...

watch rope drag if you climb this as one pitch.

that first rap on a 70m is tight (as mentioned in the description) - knot each end and make sure the ends are even.
By Austin Archer
From: Bishop, Ca.
Jun 4, 2015

So, how should I start this comment? When you see a standard anchor with 2 bolts, each with 2 carabiners on them, do you take the biners or do you leave them? Also, as an example, when you see that said biners are painted black, and attached to screw links, do you assume that they're unsafe "bail "biners and take em? I can understand booty-ing fixed gear in a crack or obvious bail biners in the middle of a pitch. But, the reason there are TWO carabiners on each bolt is to not only facilitate rapping or lowering, but also, to keep YOUR rope from looking like a twisted mess when you get down to the next anchor, or the ground. This is a huge issue for me considering the few FA's I've done in the canyon, most of them equipped with biners on the rap anchors. The anchors were equipped with my own biners, not ones I've found at the base of El Cap or something like that. Ive been back to several of the routes I've put up and find the biners have been taken. And, at times, there was nothing to facilitate rapping! How did these parties get down?! I can't imagine the shenanigans the perpetrators went through just to steal carabiners on a very obvious rap station. Ive been told on one occasion that, "well, if you're gonna put up FA's, then you should equip the anchors appropriately..." True, but the anchors are equipped. Im sure most would remember that not too long ago, and probably still, most rap anchors had a bunch of shitty tat, and you were lucky if you had a couple of rings on there to thread your rope through. Putting up routes is expensive. All the dirt, busted knuckles, and sand in the eyes adds to the adventure of it. The main message in this rant would be, if you come to a rap station and or reach a lower off station, and there are TWO carabiners on each bolt, leave them be. they're arranged that way so as to make your lower off/rappel pleasant and to keep your rope from looking like a twisted "spaghetti western" at the base. Thanks.
By Milo
Jun 4, 2015

Well said Austin. Biners at anchors are like mussy hooks(with better gates.)They facilitate a quick and safe descent, and can easily be changed out when they start looking questionable. And they're cheap and plentiful. The only shortcoming is they can be easily taken, leaving later parties rapelling through Quick links.
By C Miller
Administrator
From: CA
Jun 5, 2015

Some heavy wire wrapped around the carabiners, to secure them to the quick links, is a good theft deterrent.
By Milo
Jun 5, 2015

C Miller. I like it!
By Jeff Scheuerell
Jun 5, 2015

Thanks for the biners dude.
By Milo
Jun 6, 2015

Jeff. I'm coming to Yosemite and hunting you down.
By Jeff Scheuerell
Jun 6, 2015

Cool man, do you want to buy some biners?
By old5ten
From: Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
Jun 10, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

i wholeheartedly disagree with biners at anchors being made the equivalent of rings or even musseys:

1. as austin noted they are easily stolen - leaving the next person with nothing (btw, i seriously hope you're not insinuating that i or em took any of your precious biners)

2. they are aluminum (not steel) and wear much faster, especially on toprope and when lowering

3. their cost is not cheaper!!! you can get a fixe ps rap ring for 3.50 (cheaper if you buy them on sale), the stainless version goes for 5.50. you can get a ps anchor (hanger/ring combo) for 5.70, the stainless for 8.85 - once again you can get these cheaper on sale.

putting wire on the biners to keep people from pilfering them? you've got to be kidding me! wtf create that kind of unsightly mess on a route, ever???
By Tony Lewis
Jun 11, 2015

I'm new to the area and I have to say it seems like the ethic in Pine Creek is 'anything goes'. Everything from tree saws, power drills, bolted cracks, chipped holds, ropes left on climbs for years, roto tilling, crow barring, hold scrubbing, handicap access, bolted boulder problems etc. etc. happens there. So why on earth anyone would give a sh&t about anything let alone someone's rap anchors is interesting. Trying to bring law and order let alone who decides has generally been done by a loose consensus of which there appears to be very little of. The only reason I write this is because Austin is a good man and a great climber who seems to have a reasonable grasp of right and wrong. So to you old5ten I say good luck in your quest for whatever ashtetic your trying to push. And I hope your not insinuating that Austin is insinuating that he thinks you took his biners......
By Austin Archer
From: Bishop, Ca.
Jun 11, 2015

Biner wars of 2015! No I'm not saying you took the biners old5ten, Its not even my climb. though, I'll say, it is cheaper to equip a rap station when you pull em off your rack and put em on the anchor. Safe enough to fall on em, safe enough to rap from em. And Yes! I have seen wire at times, holding the biners in place as well as zip ties. Im bummed I didn't actually do it myself. A few times I've unwrapped wire to replace biners, or added mussy hooks(on other peoples routes). No big D! Now, if it is a popular route, I can see your point old5ten. The biners would wear pretty fast and steel hardware would be better suited to the task.
By old5ten
From: Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
Jun 12, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

tony et al - our perception of pine creek is very similar, however i don't see how ASKING about biners at the anchors AND OFFERING to replace them with something more durable is a problem.

imho, it is the FAs prerogative to put up routes any way they want. that doesn't mean that others have to like it and say nothing. i love pine creek, it's a cool place - so it pains me when i see a good route (or any route really) that has less than stellar anchors on it.

having done a bunch of rebolting for the ASCA (hairline, chouinard-herbert, piece-de-resistance, etc.) and just plain keeping my eyes open (gorge, warming wall, most recently smith) i've acquired a pretty good understanding of what works and what doesn't. the simple facts are that aluminum is not as durable as steel and that stuff that isn't attached very well walks away with someone who feels they have a better use for it. beyond that, most FAs don't constantly recheck their routes, leading to a whole new set of scenarios (none of which are all that great).

anyway, milo, the offer stands: i can throw some rings on the top of watchtower, it's a fun route and should be popular in the future.
By Darrell Hensel
Jun 12, 2015

One thing is obvious, can't please everybody all the time. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. In fact, it seems if you can please half the people half the time you're on a roll and should go to Vegas.

Chipping? Really? Please provide some specifics. There are quite a few people who would like to know more about this so they can apply some peer pressure. Chipping is so contrary to the basic objective of climbing (ascend what nature provides) that it shouldn't be tolerated.

Cleaning on the other hand is something that is routinely a good practice at Pine Creek. The nature of the rock is not stellar in general, and leaving behind loose rock that will eventually come off is a recipe for disaster given the wide range of experience of the "clientele" that frequent the canyon. If loose stuff is left behind it will come off at the worst possible time - there is an existing law that clearly states this. It would be nice if the rock was Valley quality, but it simply isn't. It's a lucky day when a new route doesn't require at least some cleanup. Nature of the beast. This isn't intended to excuse anybody's overly aggressive cleaning, just a personal observation. Acceptable "degrees" of cleaning can be debated forever.

Biners don't seem as much an issue at PC as they are in a place like the ORG where they can get cut through in no time. The biggest concern is likely to be keeping people from stealing them. Mussy hooks are an eyesore but they do seem to be the primary choice in PC (to avoid glass house accusations, I have used them on some routes as well.) Unfortunately if ring hangers were used instead the accident rate would probably skyrocket. And we sure wouldn't want to lose the clip and lower convenience, now would we. Mussy's, biners, rings, they all work.
By Austin Archer
From: Bishop, Ca.
Jun 12, 2015

I don't know of routes, nor do I know of anyone who is chipping. I think Mr. lewis is just being sarcastic. Though, if there was, it'd probably be like the old west, "get a rope!"
By Tom Helvie
From: Bishop, CA
Jun 13, 2015

Although I think Tony's rocking a little hyperbole, he is correct. Chipping has occurred in Pine Creek. It was quite some time ago, back when hardly anyone was going there. I'm not even sure the routes were ever climbed. But don't worry, Austin, you can put the rope away...the chipper left town a few years ago. Hey Tony, you did leave off car jacks and leaf blowers from your list of cleaning methods in Pine Creek :)
By MisterE Wolfe
From: Bishop, CA
Jun 13, 2015

Another good option - available here in Bishop!

fixehardware.com/shop/carabine...
By Jeff Scheuerell
Jun 13, 2015

OMG! How dare somebody leave biners at an anchor, unsightly and dangerous!

I'm with Darrell Mussys are an eyesore and the gates always get f ed up.

Very lame when people steal them.
By Darrell Hensel
Jun 13, 2015

I should have qualified my question with "currently" chipping. I believe that I've heard some chipping occurred in the past. It needs to remain a past tense thing.

The lowest profile (imo) anchors are colored single ring hangers, along the lines of what Fixe has. But again, at a cragging area like much of PC is, ring hangers are likely to just cause safety issues.

Can someone please recommend a good battery operated leaf blower?
By old5ten
From: Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
Jun 14, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

okay, i'm a glutton for punishment so i'll bite ;-)

milwaukeetool.com/power-tools/...

seems like i've got one of those lying around somewhere, you're welcome to try it out.
By Darrell Hensel
Jun 15, 2015

Just kidding about the leaf blower..
By old5ten
From: Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
Jun 15, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

ah, come on - it's FUN! ;-)

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